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An 'unbelievable' women’s semi-final showdown

United States' Megan Rapinoe, right, celebrates with teammate Alex Morgan after scoring against Canada during their semifinal women's soccer match at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Monday, at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, England.

Jon Super/AP

Monday's Olympic women's soccer semi-final between the United States and Canada has drawn rave reviews from media outlets throughout the world. Here is a selection of the reaction to the game:

Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl:

'What more could you ask for? Goals galore, unexpected comebacks, never-before-seen officiating calls and athletes giving everything they had with the Olympics on the line. The U.S. came from behind three times in this game, showing the cardiac-kids spirit that won over so many U.S. fans during their improbable World Cup victory over Brazil last year. In the end, it was Alex Morgan's injury-time header that made the difference on a perfect cross from late sub Heather O'Reilly -- the 2012 version of Rapinoe-to-Wambach in last year's World Cup quarterfinals. Canada will have some complaints about a call that led to the third U.S. goal (see below), but you have to admire both teams for providing an Olympic moment that we're likely never to forget. 4-3 in extra-time? Unbelievable."

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Telegraph's Chris Bascombe:

"Spare a thought for Canadian skipper Christine Sinclair. She struck a hat-trick worthy of a commemorative plaque on the walls of Old Trafford, only to be denied in extra-time by Alex Morgan's 123rd-minute header. The US had earlier equalised three times.

This stadium has played host to many robust derbies, but the meeting of North American rivals brings a flavour of its own; a peculiarly satisfying simmering resentment that produced an exhilarating football match.

The shame was only 26, 630 were here. What the stadium lacked in numbers it compensated for in volume, passion and quality. World-class goals, fifty-fifty tackles aplenty and not a shirker in sight; this was comfortably the game of both football tournaments."'s Jerry Hinnen:

"Maybe we should talk about the players who took part in the U.S.'s heart-stopping ...

No. Who took part in the U.S.'s unbelievably epic ...

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No. Instant-classic? No. Beyond thrilling? No. Unthinkably, ridiculously mind-blowing? Closer, maybe? But no. No, no. no. "Indescribable" is as close as we're going to come.

Because there's no sufficient way to explain how transcendent, how triumphant a sporting event the U.S.'s 4-3 win over Canada in Thursday's Olympic women's soccer semifinal truly was. The race for the definitive moment of Team USA's Olympics -- with all due respect to Gabby, Michael, Missy, and all the rest -- is over. We're calling it. If there's a contest or moment in American sports this year that comes close, we'll frankly be surprised.

That sounds like the rabid hyperbole of a U.S. soccer fan and U.S. Olympic writer, we know. But did you watch it?"

ESPN's Jackie MacMullan:

"Where were you when Alex Morgan became a household name?

You will remember. Trust me. This is one of those seminal moments when the athletic competition is so compelling, so riveting, so electric that it becomes immediately cemented in our sports annals, permanently imbedded in our otherwise cluttered, distracted brains.

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Think Kerri Strug in the 1996 Olympic Games, where she stuck her vault on a mangled ankle and clinched gold for the United States in the gymnastics team all-around event.

Think Brandi Chastain in 1999, drilling home the winning penalty shootout kick in the Women's World Cup against China, then adeptly revealing to one and all exactly what a sports bra looks like."

New York Times' Sam Borden:

"Morgan's goal, which kept the match from ending in a penalty kick shootout, settled the main issue of the evening. Yes, the Americans, a team with a two-year knack for playing epic games of tension and surprise, will get their rematch with Japan, which beat them in a shootout in the grueling World Cup final last summer.

It also settled any doubt about where this game ranked for pure, unbroken entertainment -- many of the players themselves, the experts who analyzed it, and the fans around the world who watched it declared it one of the best games, involving men or women, in memory.

"Could it have been any better?" Megan Rapinoe, the U.S. midfielder, said afterward."

The Guardian's Andy Hunter:

"The USA, the reigning Olympic champions who have appeared in every final since women's football entered the Games in 1996, are on course for a fourth gold after overcoming Canada in a sensational semi-final at Old Trafford.

Three times the Canadians led in normal time thanks to the remarkable Christine Sinclair and three times the USA clawed them back, with Abby Wambach controversially equalising late on from the penalty spot.

The winner came even later, with 122 minutes and 28 seconds on the clock, as Wambach's admirable strike partner Alex Morgan headed Christie Rampone's cross over the top of the despairing goalkeeper, Erin McLeod.

It was a semi-final where both sides threw caution to the wind and the crowd of 26,630 at Old Trafford was captivated. When it was over, the reigning champions were simply relieved to be through and happy that their hopes of avenging last summer's World Cup final defeat by Japan were still alive. Canada, inspired by the outstanding Sinclair, were on the floor in tears and disbelief."

NY Post's Mark Cannizzaro:

"They've played countless historic matches at Old Trafford, the venerable football temple that houses iconic English power Manchester United.

Not many of those, however, have been saturated with more scintillating storylines, twists and raw drama than USA 4, Canada 3 in last night's Olympic women's soccer semifinal match.

The match pushed players and its viewers to the limit of emotional exhaustion, and it was not over until an Alex Morgan header whistled past Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod in the third minute of injury time of the second overtime."

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